A new campaign has been launched to help nurses encourage patients over the age of 55 to be more active.
Your Personal Best aims to promote lifestyle changes among the 7.8 million Britons in this age group who have long-term health problems.
Inspired by the London 2012 Olympics, it encourages people to undertake regular light physical activity, such as gardening or walking the dog.
The scheme highlights the role played by nurses, GPs, physiotherapists and other health workers in promoting a healthy lifestyle among patients.
It includes practical in-surgery materials to help health professionals motivate patients to engage in physical activity, and to provide extra support to them at home.
The initiative has been launched by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in association with NHS London and is supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and seven patient groups across the UK.
GSK medical director Dr Hamzah Baig said: “Encouraging the inactive to be more active, particularly those with long term health conditions, is an ongoing challenge for those working in general practice.
“Your Personal Best aims to help patients to set personal and realistic activity goals to achieve their personal best by engaging in a range of lifestyle activities from gardening to DIY or walking the dog.”
A recent GSK survey revealed that over-55s do half an hour more exercise per week than people aged 18-25. But having a long-term health condition was among the most common excuses for a lack of physical activity (29%), second only to the British weather (30%).
NHS London consultant Dr William Bird MBE said: “Regular physical activity not only helps to prevent but also treats many diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.
“Your Personal Best supports you in giving your patients the ‘permission’ they are seeking, enabling them to achieve their personal best without having to become Olympic athletes.”